When the pandemic hit in March, Amy Diamond grabbed her two young boys and flew from Los Angeles to Sarasota to stay with her parents until “this passed.” What was supposed to be temporary quickly turned permanent. Amy’s son, Mikai, like most children, felt a lot of fear about COVID-19, plus the sadness and anxiety of moving to an unfamiliar state with little to do and no opportunity to meet new friends or even neighbors.

Mikai needed a positive outlet. Since the family loves to craft, they began a project making T-shirts, and Amy saw how happy and engaged Mikai was. Around this time, the Black Lives Matter movement was picking up due to the tragic deaths of George Floyd and others. Mikai and his younger brother are black and Jewish and are aware of the racism and trauma that exist in our country and around the world.

After Amy took the boys to their first peaceful protest in 2020, Mikai quickly began making T-shirts with positive messages such as “We’re all in this together,” “Don’t be afraid of color,” “Peace,” and “BLM.” Amy posted some of the T-shirts on Instagram, and suddenly 20 people were asking where they could order shirts!

Mikai, 11, now has a thriving custom T-shirt business and donates 10% of the profits to the NAACP. He has become quite the entrepreneur! The best part is that it has given Mikai something constructive and fun to focus on during these uncertain times while sharing messages of positivity with others around the country.

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County will award a grant in Mikai’s name to Diversity: The Voices of Sarasota, which has led the Sarasota community in music and performances that inspire fun, messages of equality, commitment to community, and the welcoming of all.

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